American Self-Storage Blog

How to Protect Your Belongings in a Storage Unit: Treasured Family Photos

By Blog Author on Tues. Sept. 4th, 2017


Today we have it easy when it comes to keeping track of memories. Since the early 2000's there's been a switch over to digital photos that has been almost universal. We take pictures on our phones, tablets, or other devices, and they are easily stored and cataloged electronically. 
But many of our most important life events, and those of our ancestors, are documented solely as hard copy photos. These items can all be scanned and stored digitally, of course, but the hard copies hold significant sentimental value. Grandma's wedding portrait, Uncle Silas's armed forces photo, baby portraits from earlier generations... They all tell a story, our story, who we are and how we came to be. 
While storage units may not seem ideal for storing valuable family memories due to factors such as heat and humidity, they can house your photos safely if stored properly. One of the best things you can do for your photos is to invest in climate controlled storage. If climate control isn’t available don’t worry, an ordinary unit can be serviceable if you follow these guidelines: 
  • Do not bundle your photos. It's tempting to wrap a thick stack of photos in a rubber band and toss them into a box. Don't. The rubber band can cause physical and chemical damage to your photos. Stacking them can increase damage done by humidity as they stick together and may even cause color to bleed. Paperclips and plastic baggies are also poor storagecontainer choices. 
  • Choose PAT (Photographic Activity Test) approved containers, whether envelopes, boxes or bags. These are generally acid-free and will minimize chemical damage to your pictures. Archival quality materials preserve pictures better. 
  • When placing photos in containers, face them away from each other so they don't stick together. 
  • Place packages containing photos in cool, dark areas of your storage unit that are off the ground. This will help minimize damage from pests and humidity.
These tips will help preserve your hard copy photos for future generations. For more tips on how to safely store your valuables contact storage expert.